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Blogwatch

February 5, 2010
Debating the impact of the ICC ruling on Sudan’s Al-Bashir


Photo: Flickr user Alkan Chagler

This week, an appeals chamber at the International Criminal Court ruled that the ICC should review evidence of genocide against the current President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir. Currently he faces charges of crimes against humanity and  war crimes in connection with the ongoing conflict in Darfur.

Worldfocus contributing blogger Ayo Johnson, who blogs at Africa Speak International, writes about the complexities of the ICC and its rulings.

I have always wondered if the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a fair organization and what criteria it uses when selecting individuals who can be put before its judges in the Hague.

There are increasing calls world wide for both former President Bush and Prime Minister Blair to face the ICC for wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan resulting in the death and the displacement of thousands of people…

The ICC up until recently was labeled a white elephant costing millions of dollars annually and failing to yield any tangible results. The ICC gained some respectability in 1999; when Slobodan Milosevic was indicted and convicting for atrocities against Serbian forces in Kosovo.

In 2003 a vocal and boisterous court; in its ambitious move to date, captured Charles Taylor and charged him with crimes against people of Sierra Leone. Taylor’s rebel group captured and drugged children who in turn chopped off the arm and limbs of innocent citizens during a 10 year brutal war…

The ICC has gone one step further charging Omar Al- Bashir a sitting president of Sudan, with crimes against humanity and violation against the people of Darfur…

The Arab League and the African Union had earlier requested that the Omar Al- Bashir arrest warrant be suspended, as both institutions were fearful of knee-jerk reactions and reprisals against aid agencies and the people of Darfur…

Sudan like the United States of America (USA) is not a member of the ICC. A defiant Bashir refuses to recognise the court, claims that the ICC is in breach of international law and has no jurisdiction in Sudan. This is an argument that has all the hallmarks of double standards, justified on the basis that the U.S.also does not recognise the court and the court has no authority over any U.S. citizens…

Nesrine Malik, a Sudanese-born writer and commentator who lives in London, argues that the ICC ruling may in fact backfire.

Despite my belief that Bashir may be guilty of crimes against humanity, not only in Darfur but in other parts of the country, I cannot help but think that the ICC has over-reached itself in this instance. The timing was again unfortunate, with the first Sudanese elections in 24 years due in April and the country holding on to a fragile peace in preparation for a referendum in 2011 when the south will vote on secession.

But as Jerry Fowler, president of the Save Darfur Coalition, asserts:

Justice and accountability are essential components of the comprehensive solution required to finally end the crisis in Darfur… President Obama and other world leaders must ensure humanitarian aid and protection for Darfuri civilians – especially following the court’s latest decision — and push for a just and inclusive peace agreement to finally end the crisis in Darfur.

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Comments

19 comments

#19

IN BRIEF I SAY THIS IS A LESSON TO OTHER AFRICAN SERVING LEADERS(UNTOUCHABLES)

#18

If there is a clear fact and true story about the Sudanese President, then i think he should face justice. Let’s all forget about white and black issue but consider about someone violating the right of inocent people. Africa is Africa but JUstice should be done.

#17

If Africa stands by and lets foreigners decide the fate of Africans, while white war criminals from some of the most painful and inhumane periods of her history are allowed to go free, then Africa’s independence is a farce

http://www.africareview.com

#16

It is the responsibility of a countries leader to protect its citizenry no matter what external pressure from large economic interests is placed upon him. Genocide is not a crime only to be viewed upon in past tense. Al-Bashir is akin to leaders like Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler. The criminal court is ment exactly for tyrants like him. Tyrants who allowed the killing hundreds of thousands of men, women and even children.
He should be tried in absentia, today, by the ICC and be given the right to testify via remote communications if he choses to do so.
If found guilty, sentenced to death by any and all available means.
Any one person or Government that is willing to claim the sizable reward should be authorized by the court to carry out his execution.

Only by setting an example of swift and decisive action will the ICC ever hope to deter tyrants from whole-sale killing of the innocent.

#15

THE CENTRAL ISSUE REALLY HERE IS WHETHER THE ICC HAS THE PRIVILEGE TO PROSECUTE A SERVING PRESIDENT…FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST HUMANITY…GENOCIDE OR FOR AGGRESSION. OUR FOCUS SHOULD NOT BE ABOUT WHETHER THE ICC IS A COURT OR TRIBUNAL BUT THAT ITS INHERENT POWER TO PROSECUTE…
MILOSEVIC AND CHARLES TAYLOR WERE OUT OF OFFICE BEFORE PROSECUTED….
THIS SAME REASONING COULD EASILY BE APPLIED TO BLAIR AND BUSH FOR THE WAR IN IRAQ.
AYO’S FOCUS IS ABOUT THE FAIRNESS…IS THE ICC BEING SELECTIVE IN PROSECUTING?
THE ICC SHOULD BE SEEN TO BE FAIR……
HOWEVER, GEORGE BUSH SNR, DID REMOVE NORIEGA OUT OF OFFICE AND JAIL HIM FOR DRUG OFFENCES
THE QUESTION IS…WERE THE AMERICANS RIGHT ON THIS ISSUE?
MAYBE, THE ICC WILL LOOK AT THIS PRECEDENT TO SUPPORT THEIR ACTION IN WANTING TO PROSECUTE THE SUDANESE PRESIDENT.

#14

There is at the heart of this debate…the legal question of whether Al-Bashir can be prosecuted as a serving president by the International Criminal Court?

#13

There are 3 leaders(Bush,Aznar,Blair) are to go Hague.The world knows that they went to Azores Isla(Portugal) to take a decision which sent Iraq in a total fiasco.

#12

Ayo,

I echo the clarifications made by Alpha Sesay.

The ICC and the ad-hoc tribunals, such as the ICTY and the SCSL are relatively new developments in international criminal justice. It would really be interesting to study the impact of the ad hoc tribunals, in particular, on the local population. Whose sense of justice do these courts serve? The international community’s? The local population? Somewhere in between lies the answer? Any effect on the rule of law? …..just a few thoughts.
Boi-Tia

#11

I fail to understand how the world can let a tinpot dictator flaunt his criminality with impunity. Some international force should grab and ship him to the Hague.

#10

Ayo, while i commend your efforts in bringing these issues to light, i think some clarifications need to be made here. Slobodan Milosevic was tried not by the ICC but by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) which also sits in The Hague. As a matter of fact, the ICC was not yet established when those crimes were committed by Milosevic. Also note that Milosevic’s trial was not completed when he died in jail. So he was not convicted. On Charles Taylor, he is also not being tried by the ICC but by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Taylor’s trial was to take place in Sierra Leone but due to security concerns in West Africa, his trial was transferred to the premises of the ICC in The Hague with Special Court for Sierra Leone judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers and staff all travelling to The Hague specifically to conduct the trial. So while the trial is taking place in the premises of the ICC, it is not an ICC trial but that of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. On ICC targetting Africans, that is a concern that many people have raised and i also do have reservations about such actions. However, a point to note is that these African leaders are not being indicted for crimes committed against westerners, but against their fellow Africans. So when we say that the ICC is targetting African leaders, let us also put that the ICC is protecting African victims. My take.

#9

If Charles Taylor former Persident of Liberia can go to the ICC, than i think its is fair to say that George Bush and Tony Blair should face the ICC to answer question for what they did in Iraq.
up to this date not even bush or blair can tell you why the went to war in iraq and kill so many people and there was no charge brought against.
When will African speak up for theirself

#8

ICC is a kangaroo court & very selective in whom comes before them, George Bush (jnr) Tony Blair, Condoleezza Rice, Rumsfeld & consiparators whom plan operation in Iraq that further destabilized the middle east & allowed Israel to get away with murders are brought before the court, it would always remain a sham. Basir fail to enforce rules of law in & around Dafour which the west would have accused him of genocide anyway damn if he did damn if he don’t . He his an angel where George Bush & Co are put together.

#7

of course it is not…when american bush, bliar and a host of others get away and get named as peace envoys and pro bono advisors to ‘deserving’ african leaders…the world is upside down. thats why obama got the peace prize

#6

The creditability is actually a ‘debitability’ in ICC as far as i’m concerned. A law should be the same for all. Tony Blair & Bush should face the ICC too especially if they have a clear conscience. Sudan’s issue is another entire topic but no one should be above the law.

#5

Ayo I commended you for your effort. However, I am not too sure about the examples of individuals cited in your piece if they were actually being tried by the ICC. Please clarify both the issues of Charles Taylor and Slobadan Milosevic. Thank you

#4

ICC’s creditability is fast facing a chop as Blair and Bush were never indicted on the illegal war on Iraq

#3

ayo, don’t get me started on this one lol. it’s a case of one rule for some and another for others. makes me wonder how the biggest abusers of human rights can safeguard them!

#2

I think this issue about the sudanese government is too much the american government should do more as a coalition to stop this rebel movements indeed. Sir ayo thank you for such a inspiring words concerning this matter as i think you are doing such a fantastic job that it wont be long we will see you all over the media in Jesus name. Myb beloved brother keep it up sir and may God bless you always. Pastor Gee

#1

I think people are putting too much emphasis on what the Sudanese government must do. It would be refreshing to see American pressure focused and exerted on the rebel movements, SPLM, Chad, Libya and France. I agree, it cannot be coincidental that all ICC decisions and US remarks come out especially when negotiations start in Doha. This is dirty pressure being exerted and foul play. As Prof. Mahmood Mamdani said, there are many factors and players in this dirty war. But the focus is on one side to be punished and not the genuine issues of demographics and resources that need to be addressed for any lasting peace. If you want to get rid of Omar Al Bashir like you did Saddam then go ahead and do it. Spare the millions of lives you usually take to do it.

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